The Courier-Mail

Bad start keeps top Aussie on the Leish

- RUSSELL GOULD

MARC Leishman was staring at leaderboar­ds all day and for so long, Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama seemed a “long way ahead”.

That gap stretched considerab­ly when the Aussie, who started his Sunday at Augusta National four off the leader and carrying the hopes of a nation, made bogeys on two of his opening three holes.

Leishman (pictured) had been in the hot seat on Masters Sundays before, famously fist pumping in the background as Adam Scott putted his way into a playoff and then tournament folklore in 2013.

The affable lad from Warrnamboo­l was trying to get his “juices flowing” to muster a final-round push in the heat of the Augusta cauldron.

But an ice-cold putter and w wedge play that didn’t get him close enough to the cup ended hope of that.

More bogeys at the seventh and 11th dropped Leishman back to four-under. Matsuyama was 13-under.

A win was impossible, but he didn’t stop fighting.

“I’m never one to give up,” Leishman said after shooting a one-over 73 to finish tied for fifth, his third top-10 Masters finish. “Obviously, a lot of money to play for, pride … and you never know what could happen.

“I always watch (the leaderboar­ds). He was a long way ahead, but I was still fighting.

“I was watching it like I always do, but just couldn’t get my putter hot, which I needed to do. If I’d have got the putter hot there late, I could have made a little bit of a run, but just didn’t quite drive it well enough today.

“It was just, yeah, a little bit frustratin­g. But this place can do it to you.”

Leishman called his bogeys on the third and seventh holes “soft”. They really halted any sense of momentum.

“I wasn’t hitting it close enough to the hole, and then just made a couple of, I’ll call them, soft bogeys,” he said. “If I par those two, it’s probably a different story.”

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